Malachi and Liat stood in the middle of the very open and pretty much empty area of the shaved ice stand. Aside from the people on the beach and the handful scattered closer, their contact in the cartel was no where to be seen.
“The woman is late,” Liat complained as she paced the area.
“Relax. She will be here. Blackadder does not work with the most cooperative of people remember,” the man sighed as he eyed the area suspiciously. He felt that something wasn’t right, that they were being watched.
“Excuse me brah,” Kamekona said, waving at the two. “This is a no loitering area. Buy something or find someplace else to chill”
“We are just waiting for a friend. We will not be long,” Malachi smiled with a nod.
“I don’t care brah. I have a business that I have to run. This area is for customers only,” the big guy replied, pointing to a sign that reflects as much.
The two operatives exchanged a look before Malachi went up to the counter. “Very well. We will take two of your ice things,” he sighed as he pulled out his wallet.
“Sure thing. What flavors would you like? We have grape, cherry, bahama mama, fuzzy naval, green apple, guava, lemon, mango-peach, vanilla, honeydew, coconut, cotton candy, daiquiri, cantaloupe, banana, silver fox…”
“Cherry is fine for both. Thank you very much,” Malachi interrupted, afraid that the big man would try to list every single flavor available.
After paying, he brought their treat over to the table and sat with Liat who glared with unbridled irritation. “Something is not right here. We should leave now.”
“Liat! Relax -”
“Do not tell me to relax Malachi! I know you believe that something is suspicious about meeting out in the open like this. We should not have come and contacted the woman for a different place.”
“Yes, you could have done that but it would not have been as entertaining for my friends and I to watch your discomfort,” a voice spoke from beside them, forcing the two to look up at who suddenly appeared at their table while they had been arguing.
“No! No way brah!” Kamekona protested. “Whatever you two have in mind, I want no part of it.”
“Look tons of fun, we just need to borrow your place for a meeting for a while. Some of our friends need to exchange information and we need to be close by but out of sight,” Danny explained.
“Why do you guys have to involve me?” Kamekona asked, looking between McGarrett and Williams. “I just wanna sell shaved ice, make an honest living. Is that too much to ask?”
“No brah, not at all,” Steve said, placing a hand on his friends shoulder. “But this is big, we’re talking world at risk big. You help us and you could be a hero.”
“Seriously?” Kamekona frowned, once again glancing between the two of them.
“Would we lie to you?” Danny asked. “Don’t worry so much, we’ll be here the whole time. Nothing can go wrong.”
Kamekona groaned for a moment while he mulled it over. “Okay… but If I’m scratching your backs, you uh, you gotta help a brotha out.”
“I’m not wearing a damn T-shirt,” Danny replied straight away.
“No, it’s not that. It’s just the last few months have been really good for business. The downside is I’ve had to make more runs for supplies. Sometimes I have to park illegally and uh… you know how it is, I may have forgotten to pay off my tickets.”
“Just how many are we talking here?” Steve asked, rolling his eyes.
“Not many… only about a dozen or so,” the native informant replied honestly.
“A dozen?” Danny asked wide eyed, “How do you get a dozen parking tickets while picking up ice and syrup from a wholesaler?”
“I don’t know brah, I guess I’m just unlucky,” Kamekona replied with a sheepish smile. “So do we have a deal? You get rid of the tickets and I let your friends have their meeting here?”
Steve and Danny exchanged a look for a moment. Steve could tell that Danny was dead against abusing their power like this, so he nodded insistently.
“Alright, deal…” Danny relented. “But this is the one and only time.”
“Of course brah, of course,” Kemekona replied with a wide grin. “So uh, what time should I expect you?”
“We’ll get back to you on that,” Steve said as he began making his way back to Danny’s car. “Thanks brah.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the big guy waved as he went back to his work, shaking his head.
Ziva chuckled as she rounded the table to sit on the table top lazily beside Malachi and smiled at them. “Imagine my surprise that while I was having lunch with a friend and who did I happen to recognize at the bar. Really, I did not expect my father to try to execute another mission on American lands without noticing US authorities in any way.”
“What are you doing here Ziva?” Malachi asked, placing a hand on Liat’s to calm her as her eyes appeared to have shot daggers into the recently achieved American citizen.
“Me? Oh I am here for the shaved ice. I hear that this stand has the best,” she smirked and raised her hand for Kamekona’s attention. “I’ll have one. Silver fox and strawberry mix. Thank you.”
Kamekona smiled as he eyed Ziva and nodded. “Coming right up sweet cheeks!”
Nearby, where the rest of both teams were watching, ready to come out from their spots were listening in. Tony couldn’t help but to crack a remark, “I nearly got my ass handed to me when I called her that…”
From the roof of a building a block away, Gibbs stared through the scope of his rifle. “Do I need to come there and shut you up DiNozzo?”
“No Boss. Sorry Boss,” the man replied as he went back to chatting up Kono who laughed as she worked on waxing her surf board while she kept an eye on the shaved ice stand.
She turned her attention back to her former colleague and her replacement. “I know my father has sent you here for a mission that involves the FBI. What I am wondering is why you are operating in the States and no federal agency is aware of it.”
“We do not have to tell you anything,” Liat snapped, making Ziva chuckle. The three were quiet when Kamekona came out to bring her the order she made.
“I beg to differ. If someone was informed then it would not be such a problem. Unfortunately now, there is a very high chance that you both may end up on a one way trip to Gitmo,” Ziva replied.
“You have no grounds for that,” the Israeli fighter stood, her hand reaching for her weapon under her jacket.
Ziva walked the area that Danny and Steve suggested for the meet. It could work, she thought to herself. “We can put one sharp shooter in the water and one on one of the roofs that way. I know they will not suspect anyone like that, especially the water,” she said, pointing to the areas.
“Works for me,” Steve replied as he followed behind her leaving only a couple steps distance between them.
“I don’t get it. Are these people really that dangerous that we need to have snipers sitting on them for this?” Danny questioned.
Ziva looked back at Gibbs who shrugged. “Think about how much fun it’ll be to watch them squirm,” he said with a grin.
The detective considered it as he tried to picture the two people. “Huh,” was all he grunted in response.
“Agent McGee, Danny and I will be set up in the stand. Everyone will be wired for communication,” Chin explained, holding up his boxes of equipment. “Kono can be on the benches over there being local with a surfboard, hiding her gun in the sand underneath it.”
“Tony can play tourist or something and hang out on the beach,” Ziva added.
“I can pretend to be giving him surfing lessons,” Kono offered to which the man grinned.
“Sweet!” he clapped, earning an eyeroll from the rest of the NCIS team in presence.
McGarrett smiled as he scratched his jaw. “Okay so when you give the word, Danny, Chin, Kono, and DiNozzo can come in to surround them. Take ’em down and drag them back to Five-0 for questioning. What we do after that remains to be seen.”
Ziva turned from looking out at the water to grin back up at him. “This is going to be fun!” she remarked.
“Ah, ah!” Ziva scolded. “I would not do that if I were you. Look over each other’s shoulders carefully. You will see a that there is a shooter fixed on each of you. And you know that Gibbs does not miss.”
Malachi eyed a man out on the water in a boat. At a more focus look, he could clearly see the barrel of a rifle perched on it and its handler raise a hand to wave at him. He did not look familiar but if Ziva was there, he knew the man was not far behind. “Gibbs is here? In Hawaii?”
“Yes. I came to investigate the murder of an NCIS agent the other day. What a surprise was it when I saw our lead suspect meeting with not a cartel member known for laundering money for terrorist groups, but the two of you,” she commented, smiling slightly at the uneasy look the two had. “Also, that opens up more possibilities as to who killed our man. I cannot help but to wonder if it were you. Everything about the scene felt like it could have been a Mossad hit, except for it blowing up to burn the evidence. Someone is getting sloppy Malachi.”
“What are you doing Ziva?” Steve muttered into his microphone, only getting a glance from the woman with a cheesy grin.
Gibbs laughed from his perch. “She’s doing what she does best.”
“No offense guys but is antagonizing foreign assassins common foreplay for you people?” Danny asked from inside the shaved ice stand where he was waiting for the signal to come out.
“It’s a perk of the job,” Tony replied only to suddenly pause as if he could sense Gibbs’ scowl.
Ziva closed her eyes as she pushed the guys’ idle chatter that buzzed in her ear like an irritating fly. “You will be escorted for questioning in relation to the murder. You will cooperate. Director Vance and SECNAV are currently contacting my father,” she continued on as she worked on her shaved ice. “Mmm, this is really good. Great for a hot day like today.”
“Ziva, please do not interfere with our assignment,” Malachi pleaded calmly. “You know that the Mossad would not risk the wrath of the US Government by killing a federal agent, especially one working for NCIS.”
“Do not plead with her Malachi, you owe her nothing that she wants,” Liat growled. “Call off your dogs Ziva and let us get on with our business. Maybe then you will begin to redeem yourself in your father’s eyes.”
She stretched her legs and looked down at her watch. “Malachi? Do you recall Michael and I working a mission outside of Vietnam about eight years ago?” Ziva questioned lightly, hinting to the abilities of one of her dogs.
Pausing for thought, Malachi looked into Ziva’s eyes. “Of course I do Ziva, your father sent me to bring you information regarding your intended target. Why do you ask?”
“I had the intel long before my father managed to achieve it, yes?”
“Yes, I believe you acquired the information from an American contact that Agent Shepard arranged for you,” he replied, absently rubbing his jaw. “Wait… you’re not serious?”
“And he has you in his cross-hair right this moment,” she answered, dropping her tone as she locked her eyes on her former partner. “Now – will you cooperate or shall we use force?”
“What is this traitor talking about Malachi?” Liat spat bitterly.
“Be silent Liat,” Malachi growled. “I will explain… after we cooperate with NCIS.”
“Good puppy,” Ziva said, pushing herself off the table, her tone cuing everyone to move in. Regardless of their agreement to behave, no one took chances and held their weapons defensively to remove the Mossad officers’.
“All units, move in,” Gibbs ordered simply, keeping his sight trained on his target until Kelly, Williams, DiNozzo and Kalekaua moved in and surrounded Malachi and Liat. “You and Malachi met before, McGarrett?”
“Yeah I guess, our working relationship didn’t exactly get off to a good start,” Steve grinned as he closed the scope on his rifle. “He made a comment about working with a bunch of American Cowboys and his face met my fist. He found himself on a plane back to Israel not long after. Never bothered looking at his face before or after.”
“Good, I want you and Ziva to tackle him,” Gibbs replied with a smirk. “DiNozzo and I will take the spitfire.”
“And just what will the rest of us do?” Danny asked, a little disgruntled to be left out of the loop.
“You can sit in with Gibbs,” Ziva said with a small smile. “He will not mind the extra hand.”
Gibbs found himself smirking again. She was definitely more confident, had she pulled something like that in D.C., he would have slapped her back down like a probie. She was ready, he was certain of that now. “McGee, you take Kono and keep tabs on Blackadder. And this time we stay on her.”
The interrogation rooms at the Five-0 Task Force Offices weren’t as hi-tech as those found at NCIS Headquarters, but to Gibbs, it wasn’t the room that mattered. He would have happily questioned Liat on a rollercoaster running in a continuous loop. He probably would’ve gotten more out of her on the coaster anyway.
“Look Officer Liat Tuvia, we have all the time in the world, I can sit here and stare you down all day,” he growled. “But if you and your partner don’t start cooperating, my superiors will likely see that you and your partner have a nice long stay at Gitmo. I hear its nice this time of year.”
Tony looked at Gibbs as he sat in a chair against the wall behind the woman. “I know I’d be happy to escort you there myself,” he threw out. “Just saying…”
Liat stubbornly rolled her eyes and crossed her arms again, refusing to speak. “You will not get anything from me. You waste your breath American.”
“No, you’re wasting your time. You wanna get back out there and be Eli David’s little lapdog, don’t you? Just how upset do you think he’ll be if you’re the reason why he’s got both Director Vance and the Secretary of the Navy breathing down his neck? I don’t think he’d be happy at all, what do you think DiNozzo?”
“Oh – I think he’ll be kicking himself in the ass Boss. Could have given the Op to better officers. Ones that would not have gotten themselves noticed so quickly. And are prettier.”
Liat was about to respond only for Gibbs to put his hand up.
“You know how we found were you’re staying?” he asked her, only to get a blank stare in response. “It wasn’t our legwork, or Ziva’s. It was a Hawaiian cop. He made one phone call and found you. You see, I’m telling you this because your agency has more problems than you realize. Not only do you have a Director who will sell his own daughter up shit’s creek without a paddle for his own agenda, you can’t go anywhere without the wrong people knowing where you are and what you’re up to.”
Danny had been watching and listening quietly, after some initial arguement before going in about who would do the questioning when he finally relented that the Navy cops knew the suspect. “If we were able to find out where you were. Imagine the cartel you are pretending to represent. If they find out that the Mossad is pretending to be them, or working them?”
“Now do you honestly think that Eli David will give a damn if we decide to throw you to the wolves? I doubt it, because he’s got bigger problems now.”
“I’m telling you nothing Agent Gibbs,” her voice was a little less confidant, but he could tell her resolve has intact.
“Have it your way. Ziva will get everything we need from your partner,” Gibbs said as he got up, “I’ll try and do what I can about getting you a nicer cell at Gitmo.”
Meanwhile down the hall Malachi was frozen, his eyes were fixed on Steve who stared at him from the corner of the room with a devious smile on his face like a dog that was waiting for its master to give him the okay to attack. Ziva sat across from the man, in one of her mentor’s more popular choice of interrogation techniques where he would say nothing and wait for the other to break.
“D-does he always stare like that?” Malachi asked, his wide eyes not leaving McGarrett.
“Are you afraid?” she asked sweetly, shifting in her seat to cross her legs patiently.
“Why would I be afraid?” he asked with a hitch in his voice. “I am a trained Mossad officer.”
Steve said nothing, he simply moved his head to one side slightly until his neck cracked.
“Ziva – you know that we are not permitted to speak about Mossad operations. If I get the authorization from the Director then I will tell you what I know freely,” Malachi sighed, dragging his eyes away from the man that broke his jaw.
“You don’t need authorization from Director David,” McGarrett said easily. “Resh-mem-daled-tet-gimel-6-7-4.”
Ziva turned her head to look at Steve and let out a small breath of a laugh. “All this time…You and I will be speaking later Commander,” she noted as the corner of her lips pulled back.
“Looking forward to it Special Agent David,” he winked. “Now, tell us everything or Gibbs won’t have anyone to send to Gitmo because I’ll put you down myself.”
Malachi shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “We received intel that there were American federal agents involved with dealings with a terrorist cell. We managed to track it back to Hawaii where our orders were to try to get in with the group and see just how far the corruption went in the cell,” he said to start.
“Let me guess, Blackadder was your contact? She was going to get you in?” Steve asked, not pausing for an answer. “How’d you do it? How did you convince her that you wanted in?”
“That was Liat’s job. She – she turned the story of Ari Haswari into one that reflected on her to sell the cover,” he admitted reluctantly and avoided looking at Ziva.
Ziva’s face did not change in the slightest. It hurt to think about what her brother had done but all she could do now was to remember him for what he did for her and it was those memories that helped her get over that part of her life.
“As far as I’m aware, Ari was never into money laundering. Where did that fit in?” Steve asked with a scowl that could rival Gibbs’. Ari had been dead for years and still his ghost managed to hurt Ziva and those she cared about.
“How do you think many of these terrorist obtain their funds?” the man asked. “Hamas uses coffee shops as their fronts throughout the Middle East.”
“So this cartel is laundering funds for terrorists, in exchange for what? FBI cooperation? The services of Ari’s folk tale?” Steve questioned with confusion.
Malachi turned to look up at him again. “I do not yet know. We were not in that far yet. It took months to get this far.”
“When you learned of NCIS agents involvement, why did you not inform Director Vance?” Ziva asked, speaking for the first time in awhile.
“I did not know of any NCIS agents involvement. Not until after -” he said, cutting himself off.
“After what?” Steve asked, placing his hands on the table and getting right up in Malachi’s face. “After you found an agent running surveillance on a yacht? After you shot him? After what?”
“I did not kill that man,” he said, gritting his teeth and looking away.
Ziva narrowed her eyes before sitting up. “You know who did. Was it Tuvia?”
“You either give us a name now or your face is going to have a reunion with my fist,” Steve flexed his hand for emphasis.
Malachi shook his head. “If I told you then this mission is completely for nothing. Any chance of infiltrating the group is gone. That last meeting we had with the FBI woman, Blackadder, was to get us with her associate on the island,” he explained then looked at Ziva directly. “An NCIS agent.”
“You’ve gotta give us more than that Malachi,” Steve shook his head. “Or do I have to make another phone call?”
“Call Director David. Do what you have to but please don’t do anything that could cause this operation to fail. We are trying to find out exactly how many groups these people fund and shut them down from the inside.”
She looked at him for a long moment before standing and nodding towards the door for Steve to join her outside. In the hall, she eyed Malachi through the window of the door with a frown. “He is being truthful in everything he has said,” she said softly.
“That may be, but he’s not giving us everything we need,” Steve replied, “And for your information, I wasn’t talking about calling Director David. I didn’t get the code from him, it would have come with a high price.”
“That is fine and all Steve but you have to admit – this mission they are on is an important one. Not only for Israel but America as well,” she complained in a tone that made it clear how much she hated to admit the severity of the situation.
“So what do you suggest Ziva? We let them continue their mission? In case you haven’t noticed, they arrived on the island illegally. They didn’t get NCIS involved or alert the US Government about their operation,” he sighed as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Oh I am not saying that they will get away with that,” she smiled slightly. “They will answer for it, but I suggest we put a tracker on them. Vance will get my father to order them to cooperate fully. He is holding that agent’s name because it may be the one that makes or breaks the mission. I do understand. It’s just – I don’t know. Has your friend Chin heard back from him yet?”
“He would have called if he had,” Steve replied. “Ziva, I’m sorry, but your father will only do something if it suits him. What possible reason would he have to order his agents to do anything at this point?”
She looked up at him with a smirk. “If he wishes to have the support of this country in the future, he will have to. There has been many close calls on decisions he had made that would not have succeeded without some, if not significant, aid from the US armed forces. NCIS in particular.”
“If he truly wants that support for his country, he would have told us about this mission in the first place,” Steve stated simply before planting a kiss on Ziva’s forehead.
Kono opened the door to the corridor for the interview rooms and smiled at finding Steve and Ziva in the hall. “Hey guys. Chin’s going to be transferring a conference call to you and Gibbs in a minute. He has Vance, the Mossad Director, and the director of the FBI all on together,” she informed them with an impressed expression. Ziva on the other hand wasn’t as much and let her shoulders slump as if it were another day in the neighborhood.
She pushed herself away from Steve reluctantly and went to knock on the door where Gibbs was in. When Danny opened it, she whispered to him, informing him of the phone call before leaving.
Gibbs turned to look at the man silently waiting. Danny pulled over the phone with a smug grin on his face as he looked at Liat. “Do you know who is on the phone?” he asked her.
“Should I care?” she asked back.
“You should. It’s your director. Oh – and the directors of NCIS and the FBI. You are wanted by a lot of people Liat Tuvia. And I don’t think your boss can get you out of this one,” he grinned.
After all the ‘Who has the bigger stick?’ arguments, it was clear that Eli David was not a happy Director, but then again neither were the Directors of the FBI and NCIS. While the FBI were aware of Agent Blackadder’s shady dealings, they were ordered not to get involved by Deputy Director Thomas Morrow of Homeland Security. He knew that Malachi could lead him to the big fish and did not expect NCIS to become aware of the cartel’s dealings until one of their own was murdered in relation to it. After learning that Agent Gibbs was also one of the case agents, he became more than willing for their involvement over the Bureau even more however the relations with Israel and the Mossad in particular became even more strenuous by their lack of cooperation once they were made.
“So that’s it? Now we’re in the game because of Gibbs?” Danny asked. “Uh no offense.”
“Deputy Director Morrow was once our boss,” Tony replied simply. “So yeah, that’s all it took. Morrow’s friendship and knowledge of the team’s track record.”
Now upstairs, the two groups were clearly on edge with Malachi and Liat with them and not in cuffs. Orders were orders and everyone’s bosses wanted the largest bass they could catch and this was the closest they got in a long time. Ziva and Liat continued to stare each other down enough that the men that were familiar with her the most, with the exception of McGarrett who was not familiar with the tension when the two met for the first time the year before, kept themselves a safe distance away in case the ass kicking started.
“Okay, thanks to Chin here, we’ve hooked you up with a pair of GPS tracking tags. In conjunction with CCTV and satellite observations, we’ll know exactly where you are to within a couple of inches,” McGee explained as he punched up an aerial view of the area on the large monitor and pointed to the two blips stood within the building they were in.
“Be aware that we will be watching you at all times,” Gibbs scowled, “And if I feel that you’re compromising the mission in any way, you will be taken out of the equation.”
Malachi only nodded silently. “Very well. Are we free to leave now?” he asked, simply wishing to get back to his work.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Steve added frowning. “Go.”
Malachi made a quick dash for the exit, yet Liat took her time to wave at Ziva with a superior smirk on her face before joining her partner.
“Why do I feel that they are going to try to disable their trackers?” Danny questioned.
“Don’t worry. I slipped in another in their watches when we brought them in. They won’t know the difference between one chip and another in the models they had. It was perfect,” Chin replied with a grin as smug as Liat’s was as she left.
“That’s my cousin!” Kono grinned, high-fiving Chin. “So what now?”
“Grab your gear, we’re rolling,” Gibbs said simply. “McGee, you monitor their movements from here, keep us appraised. Chin…”
“I get it, I’ll back him up,” he nodded, though he wasn’t completely happy about it.
The older man grinned and shook his head. “No, you and I are together as we follow. I need one of you techno-babble people to work the computer thing while we stay on their heels. Reminding them that we’re watching.”
“You got it,” Chin nodded.
“McGarrett, you take Kono and DiNozzo. Work the Owens’ angle. That asshole from yesterday – something about that house he mentioned isn’t settling well.”
“On it,” Steve nodded, “Call if you need a hand.”
Danny spun around with his finger in the air pointing at himself. “Hello! What about me? I may not be familiar with these people but I am not an idiot either.”
“You two,” Gibbs said, looking at Danny and Ziva. “Go back and stay on Blackadder. After those pictures on your phone, you will need to maintain that cover since you said she got a good look at you in that restaurant.”
“Pictures?” Steve repeated, turning to look at his blushing partner and his longtime friend who only shrugged a shoulder at him.
“I can explain,” Danny said, holding his hands up.
“No time, just keep your hands to yourself this time. And watch your ass,” Steve said as Kono and DiNozzo made their way to the exit. “And you!” he said to Ziva. “I’ll see you later.”
She only laughed as she nudged Danny forward with her shoulder. “Have fun and do not kill DiNozzo. Please?” she asked with a sweet smile.
He only looked back at her for a moment before smiling quickly and ran off. Gibbs’ latest grouping of the teams would certainly result in a little blood spill. Only question was who’s blood?